The City of Belleville has established the role of an Integrity Commissioner, an independent and impartial position that reports directly to Council and whose powers and duties are set out in the Municipal Act, 2001. Pursuant to Section 223.3 of the Municipal Act, 2001, Council appointed Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bonham LLP as Integrity Commissioner for the period of April 4, 2019 to April 3, 2021.
Section 223.3 of the Municipal Act, enables a municipality to appoint an "Integrity Commissioner" to address the application of the Code of Conduct for elected officials and/or members of local boards. In addition, the legislation provides that the Integrity Commissioner can be delegated any or all of the policy matters surrounding the enforcement of Codes of Conduct for elected officials and/or members of local boards.
Further, Section 223.4 of the Act also specifies that the Integrity Commissioner may recommend the following penalties should there be determination a contravention has occurred:
- A reprimand; or
- Suspension of the remuneration of the local board or Council member for a period of up to 90 days.
The full mandate of the Integrity Commissioner has four components and is as follows:
The Integrity Commissioner will provide written and oral advice to individual members of Council about their own situation respecting Code of Conduct and other by-laws/policies governing the ethical behaviour of members, including general interpretation of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act; and providing the full Council with specific and general opinions and advice respecting compliance by elected officials with the provisions of governing Acts and other conduct policies;
The Integrity Commissioner will have the power to assess and investigate complaints made to the Commissioner from a member of Council, the whole Council, or a member of the public all pursuant to section 223.4 of the Municipal Act;
The Integrity Commissioner will have the power to determine whether a member of Council has in fact violated a City protocol, a by-law or policy governing their ethical behaviour and to recommend a penalty as prescribed by the Municipal Act, except that Council shall make the final decision on whether any penalty recommended is imposed on the member found in contravention;
The Integrity Commissioner will publish an annual report on findings of typical advice and complaint cases, will provide, as required, outreach programs to members of Council and staff on legislation, protocols and office procedures emphasizing the importance of ethics for public confidence in municipal government; and will disseminate information regarding the Office of Integrity Commissioner to the public.
Any individual who has identified or witnessed behaviour or activity by a Member that appears to be in contravention of the Code of Conduct may address his or her concerns through the formal complaint process set out below:
- all formal complaints must be made using the Formal Complaint Form and Affidavit and shall be dated and signed by the complainant;
- the complaint must include a concise explanation as to why the issue raised may be a contravention of the Code of Conduct and any and all evidence in support of the allegation must be included with the Complaints Form/Affidavit;
- any witnesses in support of the allegation must be identified on the Complaint Form/Affidavit;
- the Complaint Form/Affidavit must include the name of the Member alleged to have breached the Code of Conduct, the section of the Code of Conduct allegedly contravened, the date, time and location of the alleged contravention and any and all other information as required on the Complaint Form/Affidavit;
- the complaint shall be filed with the Integrity Commissioner who shall confirm that the information is complete;
- the Integrity Commissioner will determine whether the matter is, on its face, a complaint with respect to compliance with the Code of Conduct and is not covered by any other applicable legislation or policy; and
- the Integrity Commissioner may, but shall not be obligated, to request additional information from the complainant.
Integrity Commissioner Contact;
Tony E. Fleming
Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bonham LLP
Suite 300, 27 Princess Street
Kingston, Ontario, K7L 1A3